UN terms Kathua rape and murder horrific, says perpetrators must be brought to justice
The United Nations on Friday termed the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district as horrific, PTI reported.
“I think we have seen the media reports of this horrific case, of the abuse and the murder of a young girl,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ spokesperson Stephane Dujjaric told reporters. “We very much hope that the authorities will bring the perpetrators to justice so they can be held accountable for the murder of this young girl.”
The BBC, in its detailed timeline of the Kathua incident, notes how the crime is deeply entrenched in religious politics and divisions.
The crime has shocked the community, exposing the fault lines between Hindu-majority Jammu and the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley in a sharply divided state.
Washington Post’s Marwa Eltagouri, in her report of the crime, says that while the 8-year-old girl’s death brought ‘anguish’ to Kathua, ‘it also brought divisions.’
The case is the latest example of India’s religious friction: as some denounce sexual violence and demand justice for [the victim’s] family, others demand justice for the accused men.
The New York Times
Jeffery Gettleman, in his article for The New York Times, writes that what appeared to be yet another gruesome and ‘isolated’ episode of sexual violence in the country, has turned out be a ‘battleground’ on the basis of religious lines.
Hindu nationalists have turned it into a rallying cry — not calling for justice for [the victim], but rushing to the defense of the accused. All of the men arrested are Hindu, and (the victim)’s nomadic people, the Bakarwals, are Muslim.
Mentioning the bandh called upon Kathua by Hindu groups, Gettleman speculates that the call for the case to be transferred to the CBI could be motivated by the fact that the agency is an arm of the central government, which is helmed by the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The Associated Press
The Associated Press, in its article on the Kathua episode, notes that though religious violence has been a sporadic occurrence in India since it gained independence in 1947, daily interactions in the country were largely peaceful, till 2014.
But that polite distance has widened into a schism since 2014, when the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, was swept into power in a decisive election victory. India’s religious minorities, especially the Muslims who form 13 percent of the population, have felt increasingly isolated since then, as attacks by Hindu extremist groups have risen.
Quoting the local police, AP says that the attack on the 8-year-old victim was rooted in religious divisions. Then recounting the 2012 Delhi gang rape, the news agency states that the Kathua episode was reflective of the divisive religious politics that the country is mired in.
Much like the Associated Press article, The Guardian too attributes the increase in religion-based crimes, in part, to the rise of Modi. While observing that religious riots have always existed in the Indian political landscape, The Guardian’s Michael Safi, quoting Modi’s critics says:
Violence between Muslims and Hindus, and between Hindu castes, has been commonplace in the seven decades since Indian independence. Modi’s critics say his rise to power has emboldened extremists who share his Hindu nationalist ideology.
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